Growing up in a household of 5 children in the Eastern Cape, Phumza relocated to the heart of Stellenbosch and we couldn’t be happier. As the first craftswoman to join the Els & Co. family, Phumza is seen as the mother figure of the team. Proud of her achievements, she warmly offers guidance and support to the rest of the team and takes new comers under her wing. With a love for team work and a natural knack for leadership, there’s no wonder why she manages to lead her team to success. With a booming laugh that echoes throughout the hallways, there is never a dull moment with her.
Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, Nonzuzo is known for taking her responsibilities as a team leader very seriously. As our second floor supervisor, Nonzuzo leads by example and keeps a keen eye on her team. No wonder why she manages to seamlessly keep everyone in check. Even though all our crafters are cross trained in every skill, Nonzuzo’s heart lies with stitching, an art form which she has perfected with a smile on her face. If you come across one of our products branded with NY, you can rest assure you won’t find a stitch out of line. We strive to create an environment where work feels like home and here at Els & Co. it doesn’t matter if it’s your first day or you’ve been here for years, you are part of the team. In her own words: “We are like a family here; we laugh a lot together”. We couldn’t be happier to have Nonzuzo as one of the leading ladies here at Els & Co.
Patiswa recently moved to Stellenbosch from the Transkei, and we are happy that she found a place here at the Els & Co. family. In the short time that she has been with us she has mastered the skills of an exceptional craftswoman. Despite our extremely high standards and work load, her inspirational attitude and great sense of humour makes it an inviting place to work. Patiswa never flinches in stressful situations, she just pulls up her sleeves and gets straight to work. As one of our best crafters, we are proud to announce that Patiswa is on her way to becoming a master craftswoman. Quick as a whip with comebacks paired with a mischievous smile there is never a dull moment in the workshop.
Anathi, who has relocated to Stellenbosch from the Eastern Cape, has been part of the Els & Co. family from the start. Anathis’s inspirational attitude makes the workshop an inviting place to work, with an infectious good-natured temperament, she is an inspiration to everyone in the workshop. She maintains high standards and it shows in her high quality of work. With products of the highest quality, Anathi has heavily contributed and still continues to contribute to our outstanding image nationally and worldwide. Always eager to learn new skills and gain new experience we are proud to have Anathi as part of our tightly knit family. Proudly branded with 'AF' you can rest assure that your product is of exceptional quality.
Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, Lumka lives in Stellenbosch with her three boys. Mothering three sons is no doubt a demanding job which would tire anyone out. But not Lumka, she is packed with energy and seamlessly manages to churn large amounts of high quality products in a day. On her way to becoming a master craftsman Lumka accomplishes an amazing amount of work in her day. Meticulous in her work, she will work above and beyond what is asked of her because she is proud of her finished product. Branded with LV, you’ll know your product is the cream of the crop.
Every team needs a leader, and we are glad that it’s Lia. Not only is she armed and ready with her deep pockets of knowledge and abilities, but she combines her sharp intellect with a keen listening ear to help others create ingenious solutions to problems. Without a doubt Lia is most definitely an invaluable resource to Els & Co. Not only does she help train her team but she manages to gracefully resolve any issues and problems, while at the same time fully engaging in the creative process from experimental design, execution and analysis. She has eagerly taken on many additional duties, and her many roles are neither easy nor are they set in stone and her flexibility in the work space is greatly appreciated. The highest praise I can give her is that she is ‘a good woman in a storm’, when things are going rough, she’s the one you want in the same room.
At first glance Ethol comes across as a very serious person, but don’t be fooled by this façade. As soon as you get to know her you’ll quickly find out that she is full of jokes and laughs. With an infectious smile, she injects huge doses of humour into the work environment. Passionate about reaching new goals and achievements, she executes her duties efficiently and with grace… and of course with laughter trailing just behind her. On track to becoming one of our master craftswoman, Ethol produces products as neat as a pin. Branded with her initials EK, you’ll know that your product is of exceptional quality.
Asive was born and raised in the Eastern Cape and she has happily relocated to Stellenbosch. She might be quiet as a mouse but she consistently produces products of high quality. Serious about her work, she is very conscientious of the importance of the accuracy in her work and therefore her products are flawless. Asive exemplifies going above and beyond what is required. Satisfied with her high standards of work she proudly stamps her products with ‘AM’. We at Els & Co. believe in positively impacting our craftswomen and we envision a promising future for Asive here at Els & Co.
She brings a ‘can-do’ creative, positive and friendly attitude to work every day, without fail, and everyone in the workshop can not help but be swept along. Fun to work with she brings a smile for everyone to enjoy. Even under the most demanding of work conditions, Azipheli maintains an incredible, positive attitude, which inspires others to more effectively deal with extraordinary circumstances. Highly reliable, Azipheli crafts products of the highest quality. She exudes a tremendous level of pride in her work and proudly brands her products with the letters ‘AJ’. If you receive any of her products, you can rest assure that you have struck gold with your purchase.
Born in Philipi in the Western Cape, Misiwe Mqolo, is one of three siblings. She now resides in the heart of Stellenbosch with her own family. Even though all our craftswomen take their work seriously, Misiwe exudes a much more serious demeanour. She remains poised during stressful situations and manages to produce high quality products even when the pressure is on. Her products are proudly branded with her initials ‘MM’. Eager to learn new skills and expand her product portfolio, we can envision Misiwe’s future with us at Els & Co.
At Els & Co. we strive to make anyone and everyone feel at home. Even though Thoko has only been with us for a short period of time, she fits into our team like a glove. Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, Thokozile Mantangatanga is armed with a golden voice that can hit any note. You can only imagine how our studio is always filled with sweet notes and melodies that keep the team alive. Not only does she churn out sweet melodies that keep us singing and humming all day long, she churns out high quality products during crunch-time.
One of four siblings, Busisiwe was born and bred in the Eastern Cape. Her positive attitude is infectious and her playful character can turn anyone’s frown upside down. With Busi around we can rest assure that our studio won’t see another doldrum day on the horizon. With hands that ache to work and a can-do attitude, Busi is a fast learner and she fits perfectly into our tightly knit family of hard workers. At Els & Co. we strive for our crafters to keep growing and to constantly learn new skills of the trade. And with Busi being a fast learner we envision the day she becomes an exceptional master craftswoman.
For many years I contemplated a radical career change to crafting something out of leather with my own hands. Something so well made that merely holding it and smelling the ample beeswax in its polish would enrich ones sole. Something that would last a lifetime. In 2014 I finally took the plunge and founded Els & Co. Fine Leather Craftsmen.
As South Africans, living in a country with many social problems, we easily overlook the amazing potential of our diverse and beautiful people. Some years ago a wonderful woman helped me realise this and it became the backbone of Els & Co. So instead of searching for skilled craftsmen, it became our mission to source craftsmen from the millions of people in country for whom there are very few opportunities to escape the poverty cycle they are trapped in. At Els & Co. we are proud of the fact that each individual was trained in-house and has gained a very valuable skill that they did not have before.
Today Els & Co. is made up of a formidable team of talented craftsmen who love what they do and give a little of themselves in every product they craft. A team I am extremely proud of and am honoured to be part of.